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No ‘bizarre juxtaposition’ in Vatican document

GIVEN his stated position of “honesty and straight talk in the pursuit of ecumenism”, I find the manner in which Rev Canon Stephen Neill (Letters, July 20) denounces the Vatican’s recent document ‘Normae de Gravioribus Delictis’ rather bizarre.

Contrary to his assertion, there is no “implied equivalence” between paedophilia, women’s ordination and concelebrating the eucharist with Protestants.

Each issue is dealt with separately and distinctly, as they should be, so the only “bizarre juxtaposition” between them is being drawn by the good reverend himself.

Canon Neill surely understands he has no more right to concelebrate Mass than a lay Catholic has.

This isn’t a question of “love” or “non-love”, but such a Mass would be sacrilegious in the Catholic Church’s eyes, and it has said so.

Whether or not this is a position held by the “vast majority of Roman Catholics” Canon Neill has no way of knowing, and is irrelevant. Many Catholics do not subscribe to Catholic teaching in many areas of their lives, but this doesn’t change those teachings.

Nor do I understand Canon Neill’s desire to concelebrate mass given that he would not subscribe to the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.

Further, in drawing a comparison between Ian Paisley’s one-time desecration of the eucharist and the church’s document, Canon Neill demonstrates a complete failure to understand that which he condemns.

The Vatican has not desecrated anyone’s belief, or what anyone else holds sacred, in defending the form of its own sacraments.

Does Canon Neill really believe that in drawing such a bizarre and ugly comparison, he is furthering the cause of mutual understanding and ecumenism?

JJ McGrath



Co Tipperary


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